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The Power of Empathy


Strangely though, what this shows me is that there is still hope for humanity.  Because behind many speciesist, sexist, racist, homophobic and generally bigoted displays of ego and pride there are often individuals who have learned to “protect” themselves from the world by suppressing their capacity for empathy… And what has been learned can be unlearned.

I saw this very clearly when I became vegan. As I opened my eyes to the suffering of my fellow animals, I finally saw the role I played in their captivity, torture, and deaths. When I recognized this I had no choice but to change my actions in accordance with my conscious. From then on, it has been a continued process of looking at my life and seeing where I am turning a blind eye… where I am still closing myself to the plight others.

This is what empathy calls us to do and why we shut ourselves off from it. It calls us to recognize the suffering in the world and instead of hardening ourselves to it or collapsing under its weight, instead to let it spur us into action so that we may help alleviate that suffering.

To do this we must learn to open our hearts once again and then push beyond the weight of our own feelings about what is happening in the world, into a place of action and conscious choice, for this is where change and hope will begin.

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


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1:40AM PDT on Nov 2, 2014

Thank you!

5:47AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Oh, why the second unneccessary page?

Otherwise, Frieda V, you are so right!

12:16AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013


6:36AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013


5:55AM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

So helpful that empaths are getting the information they need to cope, to be comfortable with this gift, which at times is not a blessing. It is easy to be misunderstood as being too emotional, too sensitive( after all this gift make people highly sensitives), too dramatic. Little do others understand the pain and hurt empaths bear thru life in their associations. Pain that cuts deep into their souls.

Indeed- little acts of kindness go a long way, and true empathy is anonymous.
Thank you for sharing.

8:23PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Beautiful article. Thank you.

8:35AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:21AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

Do people still call you a drama queen?

9:43AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

You are 100 percent right!

9:47AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

Thank You so much!

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people are talking

Not in my veggie burgers, thanks very much!

I hardly ever eat any of these.

I enjoyed the comments almost as much as the article.

Thanks for posting.


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